President Obama Calls for Comment on Federal Policies on Open Access to Research

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 00:22:34 -0500

[Federal Register: December 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 235)]
[Page 65173-65175]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Public Access Policies for Science and Technology Funding
Agencies Across the Federal Government

AGENCY: Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive
Office of the President.

ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.


SUMMARY: With this notice, the Office of Science and Technology Policy
(OSTP) within the Executive Office of the President, requests input
from the community regarding enhancing public access to archived
publications resulting from research funded by Federal science and
technology agencies. This RFI will be active from December 10, 2009 to
January 7, 2010. Respondents are invited to respond online via the
Public Access Policy Forum at, or may
submit responses via electronic mail. Responses will be re-posted on
the online forum. Instructions and a timetable for daily blog topics
during this period are described at

DATES: Comments must be received by January 7, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments by one of the following methods:
    Public Access Policy Forum:
    Via E-mail:
    Mail: Office of Science and Technology Policy, Attn: Open

[[Page 65174]]

Government Recommendations, 725 17th Street, Washington, DC 20502.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice could be made
available to the public online or by alternative means. For this
reason, please do not include in your comments information of a
confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or
proprietary information. If you submit an e-mail comment, your e-mail
address will be captured automatically and included as part of the
comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the

Director, Life Sciences, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Attn:
Open Government, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20502, 202-456-


I. Background

    On his first day in office, the President issued a Memorandum on
Transparency and Open Government that called for an ``unprecedented
level of openness in government'' and the rapid disclosure of one of
our nation's great assets--information. Moreover, the Administration is
dedicated to maximizing the return on Federal investments made in R&D.
Consistent with this policy, the Administration is exploring ways to
leverage Federal investments to increase access to information that
promises to stimulate scientific and technological innovation and
competitiveness. The results of government-funded research can take
many forms, including data sets, technical reports, and peer-reviewed
scholarly publications, among others. This RFI focuses on approaches
that would enhance the public's access to scholarly publications
resulting from research conducted by employees of a Federal agency or
from research funded by a Federal agency.
    Increasing public access to scholarly publications resulting from
federally funded research may enhance the return on federal investment
in research in the following ways:
    (a) More timely, easier, and less costly access to scholarly
publications resulting from federally funded research for commercial
and noncommercial scientists has the potential to promote advances in
science and technology, thereby enhancing the return on federal
investment in research;
    (b) Creating an easily searchable permanent electronic archive of
scholarly publications resulting from federally funded research has the
potential to allow cross-referencing, continuous long-term access, and
retrieval of information whose initial value may only be theoretical,
but may eventually have important applications;
    (c) Ensuring that the federal agencies that support this research
can access the published results has the potential to promote improved
cross-government coordination of government funding, and thus improved
management of the federal research investments;
    (d) More timely, easier, and less costly access to scholarly
publications resulting from federally funded research for educators and
students, and ``end users'' of research, such as clinicians, patients,
farmers, engineers, and practitioners in virtually all sectors of the
economy, has the potential to promote the diffusion of knowledge.
    The Executive Branch is considering ways to enhance public access
to peer reviewed papers arising from all federal science and technology
agencies. One potential model, implemented by the National Institutes
of Health (NIH) pursuant to Division G, Title II, Section 218 of Pub.
L. 110-161 ( requires that all
investigators funded by the NIH submit an electronic version of their
final, peer-reviewed manuscript upon acceptance for publication no
later than 12 months after the official date of publication. Articles
collected under the NIH Public Access Policy are archived in PubMed
Central and linked to related scientific information contained in other
NIH databases. More information about PubMed Central is available:
    The NIH model has a variety of features that can be evaluated, and
there are other ways to offer the public enhanced access to peer-
reviewed scholarly publications. The best models may influenced by
agency mission, the culture and rate of scientific development of the
discipline, funding to develop archival capabilities, and research
funding mechanisms.

II. Invitation To Comment

    Input is welcome on any aspect of expanding public access to peer
reviewed publications arising from federal research. Questions that
individuals may wish to address include, but are not limited to, the
following (please respond to questions individually):
    1. How do authors, primary and secondary publishers, libraries,
universities, and the federal government contribute to the development
and dissemination of peer reviewed papers arising from federal funds
now, and how might this change under a public access policy?
    2. What characteristics of a public access policy would best
accommodate the needs and interests of authors, primary and secondary
publishers, libraries, universities, the federal government, users of
scientific literature, and the public?
    3. Who are the users of peer-reviewed publications arising from
federal research? How do they access and use these papers now, and how
might they if these papers were more accessible? Would others use these
papers if they were more accessible, and for what purpose?
    4. How best could federal agencies enhance public access to the
peer-reviewed papers that arise from their research funds? What
measures could agencies use to gauge whether there is increased return
on federal investment gained by expanded access?
    5. What features does a public access policy need to have to ensure
    6. What version of the paper should be made public under a public
access policy (e.g., the author's peer reviewed manuscript or the final
published version)? What are the relative advantages and disadvantages
to different versions of a scientific paper?
    7. At what point in time should peer-reviewed papers be made public
via a public access policy relative to the date a publisher releases
the final version? Are there empirical data to support an optimal
length of time? Should the delay period be the same or vary for levels
of access (e.g., final peer reviewed manuscript or final published
article, access under fair use versus alternative license), for federal
agencies and scientific disciplines?
    8. How should peer-reviewed papers arising from federal investment
be made publiclyavailable? In what format should the data be submitted
in order to make it easy to search, find, and retrieve and to make it
easy for others to link to it? Are there existing digital standards for
archiving and interoperability to maximize public benefit? How are
these anticipated to change?
    9. Access demands not only availability, but also meaningful
usability. How can the federal government make its collections of peer-
reviewed papers more useful to the American public? By what metrics
(e.g., number of articles or visitors) should the Federal government
measure success of its public access collections? What are the best
examples of usability in the private sector (both domestic and
international)? And, what makes them exceptional? Should those who

[[Page 65175]]

papers be given the opportunity to comment or provide feedback?

    Dated: December 3, 2009.
M. David Hodge,
Operations Manager.
[FR Doc. E9-29322 Filed 12-8-09; 8:45 am]

Received on Thu Dec 10 2009 - 05:24:31 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:50:00 GMT